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DSD vs DSF vs DFF Files Audio. What is difference [Article]


Audio Basis - educational articles

Read below about difference between DSD, DSF, DFF files audio.

DSF vs DFF sound quality >DSD vs PCM >DSD converters >DSD audio players >DSF vs DFF for players >DSF versus DFF compression method >DSF versus DFF editing >


• Input DSF, DFF, ISO (1-bit audio) is supported in Audiophil-E, PROduce-R and configurable Modula-R
• Output DSF, DFF are supported in maximal PROduce-RD and configurable Modula-R
• For ISO tracks, DSF, DFF with length more 3 minutes FREE demo mute 2 second silence in the output middle
• DVD ISO is NOT supported


Video: DSD versus FLAC comparison and explanation



DSD (Direct Stream Digital) is one bit audio format for high resolution music. The format based on sigma delta modulation. Read details about DSD >

Music in DSD format may be stored into DSF and DFF files (.dsf and .dff file extensions respectively). Both DFF and DSF are DSD files.

I.e. DSD files is common term, that include both DFF and DSF audio files.


DSD versus DSF versus DFF files

dsd versus dsf versus dff files


However besides these kind of files, SACD ISO (.iso extension, 1-bit audio ISO) is DSD file too. SACD ISO contains text metadata, that may be extracted during SACD ISO to DSD conversion.



DSF vs DFF sound quality


DSF and DFF files are able to contains binary identical audio content.

In .DFF audio content may be losslessly compressed. But it do not impact to sound quality.

Sound quality for both file formats is defined by:

  • recording, mixing, postproduction/mastering quality;
  • conversion quality (read below);
  • playback quality (read below).

Read more about DSD and its sound quality here >





Sometimes one bit DSD considered as more qualitative alternative for multi bit PCM. However it is not simple matter, that defined by implementation. Read more:

DSD versus PCM. Real competitors? >

DSD versus PCM. What is common base? >

DSD vs FLAC (Infographic) >



DSD converters


All DSD files (DSF, DFF, ISO) may be converted each to other without loses, when conversion don't alter sample rate.


DSD conversion

DSD converters


DSD resampling and other processing (even elementary gain changing) lose quality, comparable with PCM resampling. However it is not big matter for pro-audio processing.


Read more about:



DSD audio players


DSD playback may be implemented two ways:

  • Convert to PCM and playback at PCM DAC (digital analog converter),
  • Playback straight at DSD DAC.

In general, second option is preferable. But real result depend on hardware and software implementation.


Read more about the players here > and here >

Read more about DSD and PCM DAC comparison >

Read below about DSF versus DFF playback, compression, editing issues ↓



Read the articles



DSF vs DFF for players


Playback sound quality is the same for both DFF and DSF.


DSF and DFF on DSD file player

DSF and DFF at DSD player audio files


DFF file don't support music metadata (song name, album, performer, artwork) standard way. However, the metadata may be stored as ID3 format into DFF file's chunk (internal data block). For access to the metadata, DFF file player must be able to recognize ID3-chunks.

DSF specification support the metadata. However may be issues with artwork size and/or resolution for DSF audio player.

To playback multichannel music at DSD player, the music is downmixed into stereo on fly. Sound quality of downmixing is implementation matter. To save hard disk space, you can pre-downmix it.

Read more about DSD players >



DSF versus DFF compression method


Current DSF specification note raw uncompressed packing only [1].

DFF may be stored as uncompressed as compressed by DST (Direct Stream Transfer) method [2].



DSF versus DFF editing


From sound quality point of view, for editing DSD files, file format is not matter.

Read more about DSD editing >



Read more about:




Read more about DSD

  1. What is DSD audio >
  2. DSD vs PCM. Real competitors? >
  3. DSF vs PCM. What is common base? >
  4. DSD Decoder Audio >
  5. How work sigma delta modulation in audio >
  6. DSD Converter of Audio Files: What Inside? >
  7. What is Audio Formats DSD 2.8 DSD64 DSD5.6 DSD128 DSD256 DSD512 DSD1024 >



Read more
  1. DSF file format. DSF extension >
  2. How open DSF files audio >
  3. How to playback DSF files in Foobar2000 [Step-by-Step] >
  4. DSF to PCM converter >
  5. DSF File Converter >
  6. DSF oversampling. D64 vs D128 >
  7. Audio Converter DSF to FLAC >
  8. How Impact to Audio Quality of PCM to DSF Conversion. 1-bit DSF versus PCM >


Additional links

  1. DSF file format specification
  2. DFF specification
  3. DSD file samples (music)
  4. DSF test signal files



Read the articles

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